Lawsuit filed to allow Coloradans to post ballot photos and selfies

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DENVER — Last week, state officials reminded Colorado voters that taking selfies of completed ballots and posting them to social media is a crime.

Now, a lawsuit has been filed to allow voters to do just that.

“No voter shall show his ballot after it is prepared for voting to any person in such a way as to reveal its contents,” according to the law.

Violators could be charged with a misdemeanor. The ban was passed more than 100 years ago and the lawsuit calls it “outmoded” and “antiquated.”

According to court records, State Sen. Owen Hill, R-Colorado Springs, and Scott Romano, an 18-year-old Democrat  who attends University of Denver, filed a lawsuit Monday claiming the law is unconstitutional.

The defendants are Republicans Secretary of State Wayne Williams and Attorney General Cynthia Coffman.

“Speech about how one votes in an election rests at the core of political speech protected by the First Amendment,” the lawsuit argues.

“Taking a picture of a voted ballot is increasingly popular. In order to promote political speech and discussion, plaintiffs would like to join thousands of citizens nationwide who take ‘ballot selfies,’ or photographs of their marked ballots, and post them on social media.”

“We believe the current law protects the integrity of the election and protects voters from intimidation or inducement,” the Secretary of State’s Office said in a statement. “In fact, given Colorado’s unique election system and rise of social networking, the prohibition may be more important in Colorado than in other states and may be more timely today than ever.”